How To Re-engage Your Child When Learning At Home
You started off the year with lots of ideas, fervor, and momentum. As the school weeks pass by, you may be finding yourself slipping into a rut, and you might find your child staring longingly out the window and letting out long sighs of boredom. You are not alone. Many parents struggle to keep their children engaged as the routine starts to drag, and some of that excitement from the beginning of the year drains away.
As we pass through autumn, we are standing at the edge of a new season, a season of hope and the fulfilment of God’s promise. This is a time for renewal! We recommend you take a deep breath – inhale and exhale – and start with some of these tips to help re-engage your child to learn while at home:
Spice up the Schedule
Variety is the spice of life. No one likes to get stuck doing the same thing everyday. Having a schedule is important, but be sure to switch up the activities once in awhile. Include all of the subjects that need to be covered, but keep your child on his or her toes by changing the routine.
Creative Extension: Take a printed copy of your monthly schedule with all activities listed on it – cut out each day and throw it in the air. Your child can put it together in the order he or she would like. Another option would be to let your student pick the day’s activities from a hat so it will be a surprise for him or her (and for you) each day.
‘Play’ with History
It is important to get your child moving – use the textbook or eBook as a reference, but go one step forward in having your student utilize a creative extension.
Creative Extension: When learning about the Civil War, why not have your child write a play based on historical facts? Acting as a scriptwriter, your child could outline dialogue that is rich with facts and includes important dates, historical figures and events.
Abraham Lincoln: “It is the 8th day of June 1864. It’s a big day, as I have just been nominated as President by the Union Party….”
If your child has a love for music – make it a musical!
The Student Becomes the Teacher
Nothing captures a child’s attention quicker than if he or she will be teaching the class. Give your student a chapter or subject, and have him or her plan the day. Reversing the roles will shift focus from the student receiving the information, to being able to deliver the information. This is a way to increase your child’s emotional engagement and have him or her be genuinely interested in the lesson.
Creative Extension: Have your child dress, act and present as if he or she is the teacher. He or she will walk into your ‘classroom’ with an apple on the desk and you in the ‘learning chair’. Be sure to ask a lot of questions to make sure he or she understands the material thoroughly, and don’t explain the answers during this project (although it might be tempting). The student will learn by looking up the questions he or she doesn’t know.
Get Out and About
This is probably not a new concept for you, but it is important to get out and about. Be sure to get out of the house at least once a month and visit the museums, historical sites and other attractions your city has to offer. One of the benefits of homeschooling is teaching your child in the comfort of your home, but re-engaging your child’s mind is aided by re-energizing it! So do a bit of research and go somewhere you have not been before once a quarter, semester, or year. The trip doesn’t have to be far or extravagant. You might be surprised at what learning opportunities are waiting just around the corner!
Creative Extension: When studying zoology, go to your local zoo. Stop in front of each animal’s habitat and have your child tell you three things about that animal. This will test cognitive engagement from your student. (e.g. when in front of the lions’ cage, your student might be able to tell you (1) that lions are indigenous to Africa, (2) that they are a member of the family Felidae, and (3) that the average lifespan of a lion is 13 years in the wild.
Mathematics Scavenger Hunt
Many students have a difficult time engaging when it is time for arithmetic. The concepts are there, but putting them into everyday scenarios requires a bit of thought. Take your normal errands such as driving, going to the grocery store or cooking dinner, and think of math problems for them that allow your child to apply concepts learned in math lessons.
Creative Extension: When going to the grocery store, make a list of five pieces of information your student must gather. (e.g. How much does a 11.34 kg bag of flour cost?) When you get home or to your next destination, ask your student a follow-up question that requires the data he or she collected. (e.g. How much does it cost for each kg of flour?)
These are just a few ways to kick-start your student’s mind for learning. Above all, do what works for your child. Each child is different, and something might work for one child that doesn’t for another. Making learning fun and engaging requires forethought. I hope you have found these tips helpful and that you will put them into action this season.
Enlightium Academy provides a quality, nationally accredited education. Confirmation of Enlightium Academy’s accreditation can be found at Advanc-Ed. Families still need to be familiar with and follow the state’s homeschooling laws to avoid issues. Enlightium Academy is excited to partner with you in navigating this complex, but ultimately rewarding, path of homeschooling in New York.